Gary is an author, trial lawyer, Mequon-area resident and town of Cedarburg supervisor. He is a columnist for the News Graphic and writes for several Wisconsin area magazines and is a national columnist with The American Thinker and PJ Media. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and has three sons ages 18 to 28. Gary won Ozaukee County in his bid for the Wisconsin Assembly's 60th District in 2011, but came up just 58 votes short.
The ignorance and misinformation surrounding the common sense passage of Arizona’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, which requires police officers, who in the course of a lawful law enforcement action come to a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an illegal alien, to ask for a driver’s license to verify that the person is in this country legally, has spread like a virus. The measure has sparked fierce debate across the country. Here in Wisconsin – far from the front lines of illegal immigration in Arizona – we have done our part to encourage a growing illegal immigration problem which is no longer limited to our nation’s borders.
The first signs of the virus were documented when the Milwaukee Area Technical College District board of directors wasted more taxpayer dollars and approved a resolution on May 25 directing the already bloated college's administration to boycott Arizona in response to the state's newly passed immigration law. Somebody in the over-funded technical school had to spend our tax dollars figuring out and publicizing that through the fiscal year, MATC had spent $72,453 on goods and services from Arizona-based businesses. The MATC resolution is another in a long line of creative ways this technical school has arrive at to waste the tax dollars they are entrusted with. It is clear they do not have enough to do. The resolution was proposed by MATC board member Peter Earle, a lawyer who didn’t take the time to actually read the Arizona law, one of the symptoms of the virus. Board member Ann Wilson said she voted in favor of the boycott because she's concerned about the possibility of “civil rights violations” of those here illegally, but ignoring the civil rights violations and unsustainable costs heaped on the backs of law-abiding taxpayers – another symptom of advanced infection.
The ignorance infection next spread to our Milwaukee County board, which spent the better part of June 24 debating a measure that would call for the county to boycott doing business with companies in Arizona – more good use of tax dollars. Heavily infected and grossly uninformed supervisors Peggy West and Elizabeth M.Coggs called the Arizona law racist. “It reminds me of the days of apartheid in South Africa,” said Coggs. Peggy West didn’t even know where Arizona was on the map. "If this was Texas, which is a state that is directly on the border with Mexico, and they were calling for a measure like this saying that they had a major issue with undocumented people flooding their borders, I would have to look twice at this," a geographically-challenged West said in the meeting. "But this is a state that is a ways removed from the border and, um, it doesn't make sense to me," she muttered, embarrassing Milwaukee in front of the entire world. This is what happens when we teach our children about self-esteem and political correctness instead of math, science, and history. The board was forced to delay its vote on the stupid measure due to the advanced stage of Ms. West’s infection. She is reportedly resting comfortably although heavily sedated.
Local media has been infected also. Sadly, TMJ4 reported on their website that “Communities around the nation have passed similar measures in response to a law in Arizona that makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.” The Arizona law doesn’t do anything of the sort, as I painstakingly point out below. Even Ozaukee County’s own News Graphic rejected an article for my own local op-ed column entitled “Illegal Immigration In Wisconsin”, much of which is recounted below. News Graphic op-ed editor Jan Rockley claimed it wasn’t local enough. You be the judge as the balance of this article is essentiallythe same as the column they rejected. As a result, I have resigned from writing my column in the News Graphic and have begun a new column in the conservative state-wide publication Reality News. It is a conservative publicationi sponsored in part by the Ozaukee Patriots and can be subscribed to by calling Steve Welcenbach at (414) 491-3421.
Efforts to quarantine the ignorance virus have been mostly successful and it appears to be contained within Milwaukee County’s borders. On July 7, the Ozaukee County Board supervisors approved sending an apology to Arizona residents for the Milwaukee Area Technical College's buffoonish economic boycott. On a 16-5 vote, the board approved a resolution describing the MATC action as "intolerant and divisive" and asking the college's board to reconsider its decision. There are 31 supervisors on the county board. In addition to the five no voters, seven supervisors walked out of the meeting before the vote and three others were absent. The five county supervisors voting against the resolution were Rose Hass Leider (Belgium), Thomas Richart (Grafton), Kathlyn Callen (Mequon), Patrick Marchese (Mequon) and Karl Hertz (Thiensville). "I didn't think it was our place to apologize," said Callen. "The MATC board should do that." Callen announced she does not agree with the college's economic boycott, but as a guardian of our county tax dollars – far too much of which goes to MATC – she is front line of defense against waste and all five supervisors who voted against the measure did so due to being infected with the ignorance virus or abdicating their responsibility as tax watchdogs for Ozaukee County. There may be early signs of infection on the Ozaukee County Board, although medical tests have not yet confirmed this. Seven supervisors left the County Board meeting room and did not cast a vote. The seven supervisors who skipped the vote were Richard Nelson, Raymond Meyer, Kathy Geracie, Jean Zens, Cindy Bock, Nancy Szatkowski and John Slater.
Our Ozaukee County Board is to be commended for standing up for common sense. They remain a beacon of hope in a world otherwise gone mad with political correctness and a reflexive enmity for almost anything our country does to protect itself and its borders. Those on the board who walked out or voted against the measure have some explaining to do. For those individuals on the Board who may be ignorant as to the Arizona law and how it works, the rest of this article will be particularly illuminating.
As a lawyer, I’ll now take the time to explain why the Arizona immigration law is not racist, zenophobic, unconstitutional, discriminatory, unfair, totalitarian, intolerant or even simply naughty. I’ll take the time to explain to fellow lawyer Peter Earle that seeking treatment from the virus might not only be good for his performance on the MATC board, but also for his profession as a lawyer. Details and facts matter. So here they are.
We don’t need “comprehensive immigration reform” – liberal-speak for “amnesty” – as our president has called for. What we need is strict enforcement of our current federal immigration laws. The argument against doing so is emotional, illusory, and dangerous. The simple fact is America cannot afford to house, clothe, and shelter the world. Neither can Wisconsin. There are more than 20 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today, and growing rapidly. About 60% of them are unlawful border crossers, while 40% are “documented aliens” who have overstayed their Visas. This illegal invasion of our country has contributed to overcrowding of underfunded schools, soaring health care costs, crime, unemployment, lowered wages, higher taxes, and the loss of a common language and culture. A growing number of them radically refuse to assimilate and openly profess an intention to culturally “re-conquer” America.
Illegal immigrants take $1.6 billion from Arizona's education system, $694.8 million from health care services, $339.7 million in law enforcement and court costs, $85.5 million in welfare costs and $155.4 million in other general costs. Arizona does not want to become like California, which is bankrupt after spending more than $10.5 billion per year on illegal immigrant education, health care, and incarceration.
Our own U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, sworn to protect America, has promised legal challenges to the 17-page Arizona law he admits he has never even read. The vocal minority who oppose the common sense measure mistakenly believe it allows police to stop people randomly and ask for their “papers.” This is emotional nonsense. Arizona's SB 1070 reads in part as follows:
“For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an [illegal alien], a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to [verify with the federal government] the immigration status of the person.”
The 4th Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and its protections extend to brief investigatory stops of persons or vehicle falling short of arrest. Only when there is reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed can a stop be "lawful." Only after the police legally stop somebody and ask for a valid Arizona driver’s license does the rest of the bill come into play:
“A law enforcement offer, without warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.”
To further alleviate racial profiling concerns, Section 2 of the law specifically mandates that a law enforcement official "may not solely consider race, color or national origin" in making any stops or determining immigration status.
The new Arizona law is supported by 71% of Americans. Law-abiding U.S. citizens who live within 80 miles of the Arizona/Mexico border have for years been terrorized by daily invasions of their property. One rancher testified that 300 to 1200 people each day come across his ranch, vandalizing, stealing his vehicles and property, cutting down his fences, and leaving trash. In the last two years he has found 17 dead bodies and two Koran bibles. Another rancher testified that drugs are brought across his ranch daily in heavily-armed military-style operations. Dozens of sheriff deputies, police officers, park rangers, and border agents – men and women with families – have been murdered by illegals. It’s no wonder that Arizona’s police associations favor the new law, along with 70% of Arizona residents.
Last week, Mexico’s president insulted America by blasting the new Arizona law, but failed to mention that Mexico deports far more illegals than America does, and imprisons those who violate immigration laws. Mexican immigration law ensures that all foreign visitors and immigrants are in the country legally, have the means to sustain themselves, will not be an economic or social burden on society, are of good character with no criminal records, and will contribute to the well-being of Mexico. Violators are deported or imprisoned.
Wisconsin is not immune from the immigration problem. Illegals in Wisconsin tend to work in hotels, cleaning services, farms, construction, landscaping, home repair and roofing. Most are from Mexico but many are from the Congo, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mali, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and Peru. Our proximity to Chicago – a major illegal immigration destination - has fueled the increase in the population of illegals locally. Only recently, 20 fugitive illegal aliens were arrested in Wisconsin following an 11-day operation that targeted only those in violation of deportation orders or with criminal convictions for drug dealing, home invasions, bank fraud, battery, robbery, and assault.
Wisconsin is the northernmost state that does not share a border with Canada, so enforcement here has largely been focused on interior issues. In 2008, an illegal named Ezequiel Lopez-Quintero gunned down Kenosha Deputy Frank Fabiano Jr., a former U.S. Marine and an 18-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, during a routine traffic stop in the Town of Somers. Fabiano was unable to fulfill his promise of taking his 8-year old daughter, Angelina, to see "Shrek IV" when it opened later that week. The man who shot him should never have been allowed into this country. Don’t boycott Arizona. Boycott Racine and Madison, two Wisconsin cities which shamelessly offer “sanctuary” to illegals.
Here in Wisconsin we have illegals offending and re-offending, being deported, and somehow finding their way back to commit more crimes. Wisconsin ranks 21st in the country, with an estimated 150,000 illegal aliens, far less than the 5 million in California or 4 million in Texas, but far more than the estimated 10,000 in West Virginia, Wyoming, Maine, or Vermont.
The ignorance infection has consumed Madison. Wisconsin lawmakers not only tolerate, but reward illegal immigration. Last month, the state Senate failed to pass a bill that would make companies that hire illegal aliens ineligible for tax breaks and government contracts. Last year, Wisconsin became one of only ten states which give illegal immigrants discounted tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities. In 2005, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority openly made a joke of our federal immigration laws by becoming the first such agency in the country to guarantee home loans for illegal immigrants. That year the Federation for Federal Immigration Reform estimated that the taxpayers of Wisconsin spent $201.4 million per year on illegal aliens and their children in public schools.
Here in Wisconsin, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker reversed himself on Arizona's controversial immigration law over the weekend, first expressing serious concerns about “racial profiling.” After being bombarded with negative feedback saying Walker indicated that as governor, he would “sign legislation that strengthens our protection against illegal immigration and ensures that taxpayer funded benefits like BadgerCare and drivers licenses are not available to those who are here illegally." His challenger, Mark Neumann, opposes amnesty, in-state college tuition discounts and drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, and supports the rights of states to protect their citizens when the federal government fails to do so, but hasn’t gone so far as to say he would sign a bill similar to Arizona’s if elected.
Even more locally, Cedarburg Police Chief Tom Frank says that while his department has no written policy involving the handling of illegal immigrants, they do follow the recommendations issued by the Milwaukee U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office. However, Frank stated that previous contact his department has had with the local ICE office has confirmed that ICE only enters the picture if the investigation of a serious crime is involved. It is clear that the federal government doesn’t consider illegally entering our country a “serious crime.”
It seems that the ignorance virus thrives in emotional environments. People who react emotionally and with very little common sense or logic, are most likely to be infected. Enforcing our existing immigration laws is no longer an immigration issue; it's a national security issue. When the federal government fails to do its job of protecting U.S. citizens and borders, states like Arizona and Wisconsin are our last line of defense. It’s time we use less emotion and more common sense in enforcing our national and state immigration laws and policies.